The flocculation and filtration characteristics of typical Indian iron ore fines have been studied using starch as flocculant in the presence of an inorganic electrolyte, namely calcium chloride. The effect of various parameters such as pH, starch and calcium chloride concentrations and pulp density on the settling and filtration rates, turbidity of the supernatant and on residual starch and calcium ion concentrates has been investigated through a statistical design and analysis approach and subsequently optimised on a laboratory scale. The adsorption mechanisms of starch onto haematite have been elucidated through adsorption density measurements, infrared and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopic techniques. The rheological property of the polymer solutions of relevance to flocculations has also been investigated. Further, the role of metal ion-starch interactions in the bulk solution, has been studied. In order to understand the nature of polymer adsorption at the double-layer, electrokinetic studies have been carried out with the iron ore mineral samples using starch and calcium chloride. Based on the above findings, selective floculaation tests on artificial mixtures of iron ore minerals have been carried out to determine the separation efficiencies from the view point of alumina and silica removal from haematite as well as the control of alumina: silica ratio in Indian iron ores. © 1991.
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